In an effort to explain how the American Board of Otolaryngology (ABOto) functions, ENTtoday will publish a series of informational articles over the next few months. We hope you find this information helpful, and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact the ABOto office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-850-0399, or visit aboto.org.
The Education Committee of the American Board of Otolaryngology (ABOto) addresses issues related to the requirements and standards for resident education and training that lead to eligibility for board certification. The Education Council is a larger group that addresses the same issues and, in addition to the board’s Education Committee, also incorporates other educational leadership from the specialty. Specifically, the Council membership includes the chair of the Otolaryngology Resident Review Committee (RRC), two representatives from the Society of University Otolaryngologists (SUO) and two representatives from the Association of Academic Departments of Otolaryngology (AADO); the president of the Otolaryngology Program Directors Organization (OPDO) is also invited to attend.
The council meets twice a year, in conjunction with the SUO/AADO/OPDO meeting in the fall and the annual board meeting and oral examinations in Chicago in the spring.
Strides in Training, Standardization
The Education Council was created many years ago by Byron Bailey, MD. By working with the Otolaryngology RRC, the council has overseen some evolutions in the residency training program, including the change in training duration from six to five years, the transfer of education control of the PGY-1 year from general surgery to otolaryngology and the development of specific rotation requirements for that year.
Additionally, the council saw the need for a comprehensive report summarizing the educational content of residency training—from basic mechanisms of disease to medical and surgical treatment—and which would address all aspects of residency training from didactic curriculum to teaching in the operating room. Working with many experts across the specialty and led by Bruce Gantz, MD, the Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Core Curriculum was created in 2007 and can be found on the ABOto website.
The Council also recognized the need for more standardized methods to assess surgical competence during training. Paul Lambert, MD, led a group that studied best practices from other surgical specialties and developed a pilot assessment tool that could be used for many different procedures at different levels of training. This tool was subsequently used for data collection by many programs around the country, with reports back to the council. This has served as a precursor to “milestone” assessment, which has recently become a major push from the ACGME across all residency training programs.
Currently, the council works closely with the Milestone Task Force, which is charged with developing the milestone groups and criteria that will be used by residency training programs to assess several aspects of the clinical competencies. This important initiative has the possibility of being a transformational change in both the evaluation of individual residents and the accreditation of training programs, and input from the council has been used along the way toward development. The council is also working with the OPDO on a potential project to improve the screening process for residency applicants, with a goal of identifying (and selecting out) applicants who are not an ideal fit for the specialty.
In summary, the ABOto Education Council provides a critical forum where leadership representing the board, department chairs, program directors, the RRC and academic faculty can regularly meet and address issues around the training and education of residents, who represent the future of the specialty.